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Topics surrounding general assessment and the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Systems.

Finding an accurate level Messages in this topic - RSS

FPUser113587
FPUser113587
Posts: 3


6 days ago
FPUser113587
FPUser113587
Posts: 3
It is my understanding that the accuracy and comprehension scores are primarily how we determine reading levels, combined with information gathered on fluency, self corrections, optional writing and reading rate. But how important is the reading rate? If a student's accuracy and comprehension score is indicative of an independent reading level (therefore fluency has not gotten in the way of comprehension) but the reading rate is slower than what is recommended for that level, how is an accurate independent reading level determined?
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Helenann Steensen, Fountas & Pinnell Consultant
Helenann Steensen, Fountas & Pinnell Consultant
Posts: 739


6 days ago
FPUser113587 wrote:
It is my understanding that the accuracy and comprehension scores are primarily how we determine reading levels, combined with information gathered on fluency, self corrections, optional writing and reading rate. But how important is the reading rate? If a student's accuracy and comprehension score is indicative of an independent reading level (therefore fluency has not gotten in the way of comprehension) but the reading rate is slower than what is recommended for that level, how is an accurate independent reading level determined?


For an explanation of reading rate and its impact on reading processing, please refer to page 39+ in the Benchmark Assessment Guide. An excerpt from this section states: “Readers develop individual styles for oral reading, so do not try to identify a precise reading rate that all must achieve. Use Figure 2.26 [page 40 of edition 3] only to identify whether a student’s reading is within a desired range. It may also help to think about the range of reading rate you want the student to reach by the end of the grade level. Remember that rate is a good indicator only if the student is reading a text that is not too difficult. On hard texts, most will read more slowly. Also, be sure to remember that all the dimensions of fluent reading are as important as rate. Reading rate is only one aspect of integrated and orchestrated processing of text.“

In Section 3, page 46: Recommended Placement, it states, “In fact, no matter what the test shows, it always requires qualitative judgment on the part of the teacher. When you finish the assessment for a student, you have an important set of numbers....You also have additional information...”

As you indicated, you are looking at all the information combined to determine the Independent, Instructional and Hard Levels. If the reading rate is very slow and plodding, you need to ask the question, “Is this truly the independent level?” But if the reader is pausing, phrasing, reading with intonation, etc but just a bit below the expected reading rate range, then you may decide that this is an independent level for this child. No matter what you decide, your year end summary for this student should suggest that the next teacher work on reading rate.

Also, make sure that his/her processing behaviors match the proficient behaviors listed in the Literacy Continuum for this level.

I hope this helps. There is no direct answer to your question since only you have heard the child reading and have observed his processing behaviors.

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Helenann Steensen, Official Fountas & Pinnell Consultant, Heinemann
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